Tag Archives: GERD

Managing Stomach Acid? This Is For You

Managing Stomach Acid: This Is For You

“Let food by thy medicine and medicine by thy food,” sayeth the great old Hippocrates. And while I couldn’t agree more, what if that food is not being digested properly? Or if the healing foods are giving you so much acid reflux that you feel like you are just biding your time until esophageal cancer strikes?

I ordered this book, Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You: Natural Relief from Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux & GERD, because I can’t believe how many people I know – friends and family, young and old – who are taking daily antacids or acid-blocker medication due to mild or very serious acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). I wanted to know if there was an alternative to the party line being pumped out by pharmaceutical companies and well-meaning doctors alike.

What a surprise: there is! And not only that, but the remedy for acid reflux is – wait for it – THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what every single doctor or advertisement is telling you to do.

Obviously this is contrarian advice, and that is why I am drawn to it. But if I was suffering from this condition, I would not wait another minute before reading this book. This is the real “second opinion” that you need to get for yourself and your best health.

The cause of acid reflux, where stomach acid leaks up through the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) and burns the delicate lining of the esophagus, is not an overabundance of stomach acid. Instead it is an underperforming LES due to low stomach acid. When the stomach acid is too low, it lets the LES be lazy – which allows leaks. When stomach acid is high, the LES must be on guard and stay strong and tight, because it knows its job is to protect the esophagus from acid. If it doesn’t detect much acid, it doesn’t bother doing its job. Chronic low stomach acid leads to a very lazy underperforming LES. This can be remedied by increasing the acidity of the stomach acid through time-tested methods like ingesting bitters before meals, or with stronger medical interventions like capsules of hydrochloric acid.

Now before you start mowing down on hydrochloric acid, maybe you should take this book to a doctor or some kind of healer. Let’s not get all your information from an untrained but enthusiastic hobbyist from the internet, please.

Also, some conditions are herniated – which means the LES is not located right in the diaphragm where it should be, but has been squeezed up above where it cannot benefit from the muscles of the diaphragm to help keep it closed. These conditions probably need surgery to fix, or else can remedy on their own by losing a tremendous amount of weight. (This is what happens in pregnancy – the LES is squeezed above the diaphragm and then acts leaky until the baby is delivered and the LES has room again to gravitate back to the diaphragm. Most cases of pregnancy reflux completely disappear the minute the baby is born.)

What is so interesting is that the conventional medical response to reflux is to prescribe antacids to lower stomach acidity or acid-blockers to block acid production completely.

Creating a low-acid environment in the stomach is going to lead to a lazy LES, which will not solve the problem of acid getting into the esophagus. All it will do is neutralize the digestive juices. Which means you will not be able to properly digest food. And that just doesn’t make a lot of sense. The stomach acid is there for a reason; it’s not just some bothersome pool of corrosive liquid that you are meant to destroy.

If you remove your ability to properly digest food, and all its enzymes, vitamins, minerals, macro- and micro-nutrients, what are you left with?

A low level of health.

If this is all news to you, and you want to read more about it, please check out Chris Kessler’s great five-part series online: What Everybody Ought To Know (But Doesn’t) About Heartburn and GERD. You can thank me later.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

ACV: Foundation Drink No. 2

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, known to the in-crowd as ACV, is my second foundation drink, after the Crazy Hot Drink. I like to take about a tablespoon (or less if you are starting out) in a glass of appropriate water.  The taste is slightly tangy, like a weak, refreshing wine. Who doesn’t want to pretend they are drinking wine all day?

I just find that drinking water can get a little monotonous. But when I add some ACV to it, all of a sudden it is a flashy beverage! It’s my diet coke.

I have tried lots of different varieties of ACV, hoping to find an organic local version that I like. But it turns out the Bragg Organic, Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with the “Mother” is my favorite.

WHEN AND WHY?

We’ve all heard that the best way to start your day is with a squeeze of lemon in a glass of water. Totally! But guess what? It gets kind of expensive to buy all these organic lemons and cut them up and sometimes forget about them. So while I love lemon in water, I save it for when I have leftover lemon kicking around, or when I am in a restaurant or traveling (let them spend the money on lemons!).

IMG_3117So instead I start the day with a glass of appropriate water and some ACV. This will restore your body’s pH balance, making it just slightly alkaline. Possibly this will give your kidneys a little breathing room. The ACV will also stimulate your stomach acid, which will help digestion. Since ACV is prebiotic, it will feed probiotics, which will strengthen your body’s immunity and gut health.

ACV should also be taken with a little water before meals, especially if you suffer from acid reflux or GERD. The idea is that the acetic and malic acids in ACV increase the acidity of the stomach, which signals the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) to tighten and strengthen to protect the esophagus. Raising the acid levels actually protects the esophagus and makes digestion more efficient. This higher acidity allows your body to better absorb essential minerals that are locked in foods. By contrast, taking antacids or acid-blockers lowers the stomach pH, which sends indifferent signals to the LES causing it to weaken and allowing stomach acid to slip up through it into the esophagus in a relentless cycle of pain, discomfort, malnutrition and eventual destruction of the esophageal lining.

As well as being full of enzymes, raw organic ACV is rich in potassium (11mg/TBS), which can help relieve symptoms of the common cold, allergies, mucus and sinus congestion. Tooth decay and brittle fingernails are another sign of potassium deficiency. ACV has also been used to treat headaches, depression, joint pain, kidney and bladder issues, depression and constipation. High levels of pectin in ACV, which act like high fiber, control blood sugar and make it an ideal supplement for diabetics. Taking ACV before meals has shown to lower blood glucose in both healthy people and diabetics, reducing the need for supplementary insulin. It is also known to cleanse the organs and blood by binding with toxins and breaking them down for elimination.

HISTORY

Not only did Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, prescribe ACV for everything, but the Egyptians were into it 3000 years ago, and there are indications it was being used to treat ailments at least 10,000 years ago. That’s a much better human record than a 6 month clinical trial.

BE SMART

Don’t drink ACV straight: too hard on the tooth enamel and linings of the mouth and esophagus. Don’t drink crazy amounts like a cup a day. Don’t get an ACV pill stuck in your throat. People did these things and it didn’t work out for them.

BONUS PROJECT

Almost finished your bottle of ACV? Still see a generous helping of “the mother”, that webby brown stuff, settled on the bottom? Then just top up your bottle with your favorite tasting raw, organic apple cider – cover the opening with a cloth and an elastic, and put it in the cupboard for 4 months. Look at what you just did! You made your own ACV, girl.

Tagged , , , , , , ,